Chile, the first place I understood the language but if a local started speaking to me I would only understand half of what they were saying and this says a lot for Chilean “Spanish” as Spanish was the first language I learned to speak and in college I decided to take my Spanish to the next level and minor in commercial Spanish (and before you ask, it’s like proper Spanish for international business). I do have to hand it to Chileans who have mastered the way of shortening 2 words, combining them and creating a new word for something. For example, pisco and coke is called “piscola”. I also picked up that they also like to create multiple words even when they have a word in place for it as is with the word “peso” which is the currency in Chile so something that is $1.000 one would think is $1.000 pesos but WRONG! It’s $1.000 lucas (and they have a word for 100, 500 etc. and all are different). My response to that… BUT Why?!?!?
Anywho, I started back again on this #GirltakesMundo adventure after my short pause in the good ole US of A attending bachelorette parties, weddings, reconnecting with family and friends to remind them how “cool” I am obviously 😉 but most importantly and above all spending time with my paw baby Montana. Even if you took everything away and left me with just a visit with Montana I would have been the happiest of bee’s. I would feel bad, ashamed or even sorry for admitting this but I think every party mentioned above knows how much my pit bull means to me. #apitbulltookmyheart (check # out on IG to see for yourself.)So as I made my return to traveling the first stop kickstarting this was Chile!
Chile was a country that has been in my “To Travel” list for quite some time. (Tip: If you don’t already have one make sure to start a travel list. It’s the perfect way to guide you on your next holiday/vacation but it can double up as a vision board so to speak by putting it out in the universe where you want to go. Clearly this is Yogi Chris talking but it works!) Since I knew that I couldn’t visit Chile without making my way to Easter Island, which is the easiest way to get to the remote island (More on Easter Island in a separate post to come FYI.) and knew that I would need at least 2 weeks to be able to properly visit both but with Corporate America that would chew up all my holiday time so I never had the chance or ability to justify the trip until now. During my 7 day trip in “Chile” aka the part I actually consider Chile since I know Easter Island is “technically” part of Chile though it really shouldn’t be but let me not open that can of worms. Any-who, in Chile I was able to visit Santiago and Valparaiso. I would have added Vina Del Mar but as I’ve learned with my traveling habits now is that I’m not about checking a place off if I don’t feel like I will enjoy it the way it’s intended so when you wake up and it’s raining and expected to rain through out the day, visiting Vina Del Mar where people go to see it’s beach just doesn’t seem right. I say this because even though I wasn’t able to go I would still tell people to visit Vina Del Mar if weather permits especially if you make your way to Valparaiso as it’s a short 20 minute bus ride. This was the original plan my Canadian mates and I had of killing 2 birds with one stone and visit Valparaiso and Vina together instead we explored Valparaiso more on the day we intended for Vina.
Come to Chile for the Andes, its rich culture, for visiting a country with a dark history under Pinochet, for its wine (especially since wine here is cheaper than beer and as I learned from the wine seller and can vouch due to my own extensive research, no Chilean wine is a bad wine BUT and I can’t stress this enough, don’t come to Chile to learn Spanish. 😆
In Valparaiso, the highlight that no one in Valparaiso would let us miss was the rubber ducky in the port. The street vendors sold everything from rubber duckies that were squeaking up the city (and yes, this was annoying AF), duck balloons and any other duck related items they could get their hands on, locals and expats would offer it as a Valparaiso tour stop and it even showed up in the national Chilean television so aren’t my Canadians and American mate glad we were bestowed with the honor to also see this for ourself. Yes, this was quirky but it’s nice to see how a city can make something a thing. Additionally, randomly checking out an art exhibit on a rainy day to discover that the artist was visiting the exhibit and discussing his pieces was really cool. It certainly added to Federico Assler’s, “Taller Roca Negra” exhibit. But if I could give any advice about Valparaiso is to just walk. The street art is amazing and you will find it everywhere so grab a map and start seeing the places highlighted on the map and don’t try to venture off those spots especially at night as I can see how it’s nooks and crannies can turn grim at night. My mates and I personally learned this actually in the day and probably for the best when I was questioned and scolded by who could have easily been my mom in Chilean form when she asked my group if any of us spoke Spanish which my Canadian and American mates quickly pointed at me. My Chilean mom processed to tell me that we were walking in a bad neighborhood and to return to the main touristy area. The irony of it all was that I originally had not wanted to go up into this neighborhood and had told my travel mates I would stay down (Valparaiso is on a hill so it goes uphill FYI) but they insisted so I followed them and even while we started walking this neighborhood I had made the comment about how I could see the city getting weird at night so I’ll admit that as I was being questioned as to why I let these “gringos” into this part of the city I quickly threw them under the bus and said it was the other way around as they made me and I didn’t want them to come alone. My mates knew some Spanish and called me out for throwing them under the bus but that’s what Latin kids do when your mom is scolding you. So yes, visit Valparaiso it’s worth the trip and when it’s only an hour 1/2 away via bus from Santiago you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t go.
My highlights in Santiago had to be walking up the Cerro of San Cristobal not once but twice, feasting in the seafood market, checking out the Human Rights museum, getting a free walking tour from Mateo a street dog who was not only entertaining but owned the city, having ice cream from “Emporio La Rosa” 1 of the top 25 ice cream parlors in the world by Daily Mail, checking out the Italian neighborhood and street art in Yungay, trying the infamous “teremoto” aka “tornado” drink from “La Piojera” and trust me when I say that you only need 1 to feel good but also being amazed with how many vegetarian options were available in this city (unlike Australia).
The most exciting part of my trip though was knowing people in Santiago from my most recent travels aka the first part of my #GirltakesMundo adventure. I had the opportunity to meet up with Fran and Mau whom I met in Sofia in Bulgaria which was the first country in part 1 of this trip and who I even did a road trip to Plovdiv with. Then I met up with Mauri, one of my yoga instructor from the Ubud Yoga Center in Bali and his wife Marce who after 9 years of living abroad decided to return to live in Santiago. It was simply wonderful to start this segment of my #GirltakesMundo adventure with some familiar faces from the first segment and see them in their own back yard as this is where they call home and this is where they are locals.
Chile was truly a great place to start my 2nd segment of this trip and the familiar faces from the first segment helped ease me back and if all else the wine also helped and made it easier to speak Chilean “Spanish”. And with that said, let’s continue this #GirltakesMundo adventure!